We had read a number of reviews of Mount Rushmore itself, some very positive (especially espousing the feelings of patriotism that are felt by Americans as they observe the 60' carvings of presidents' heads in the mountainside) and some rather negative, talking about the commercialism and "touristy" nature of the park. We had limited time as we had to make it to Sioux Falls and I also wanted to visit a winery in Hill City, so we opted to go to Crazy Horse rather than Mount Rushmore. And we were very pleased that we did.
On the way there, I went in to what I thought was a winery, Stone Faces in Hill City. It turns out that this is not really a winery per se, but only a tasting room for another winery, Valiant Vineyards that is in Vermillion, SD, some 300 miles further east. The girl in the tasting room explained that the winemaker there, Eldon Nygaard was responsible for writing the law (The South Dakota Farm Winery Act) back in 1996 and established the first Farm Winery in the state there. Rather than taste the wines in Hill City, and knowing we were heading towards Sioux Falls, I said we would go there and visit. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the time we had available to fit everything in, and we never did make it to Valiant Vineyards, but I do plan to get hold of a bottle of their wine and taste it.
We headed to Crazy Horse in weather that was still very iffy. Mist and drizzle persisted as we drove through the Black Hills, but gradually it improved and the sun came out.
Ginnie has a particular interest in Native American culture, having written her first novel set in the Hopi and Navajo Lands of Arizona, so we were pleased to be able to see this monument, started by a white man and his family and funded entirely by private funds, to try to right some of the wrongs of the past in the way that the American Indians were treated.
In comparison to the Presidential stone faces of Mount Rushmore, the scale of Crazy Horse is colossal. It is the world's largest mountain carving. The face of the sculpture is completed and the wife, Ruth, and children of the sculptor,